News release: Minnesota DNR seeks input on proposed special fishing regulations

August 7, 2023

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking for input on several special fishing regulation proposals.

Each year, the Minnesota DNR proposes new special fishing regulations that apply to individual waters and asks the public for input about the proposals. The regulations, if enacted, are reviewed on a regular basis.

The Minnesota DNR is proposing either new or changes to existing experimental and special fishing regulations for the 2024 fishing season that address the following topics:

  • Northern pike in Gull Lake chain (Cass and Crow Wing counties) – A proposed experimental regulation is intended to provide better protection for large northern pike and reduce enforcement complexities by applying the same regulation to all connected waters.
  • Northern pike in Pearl Lake (Stearns County) – An experimental protected slot limit is expiring in 2024 and survey data indicate the regulation is not achieving management objectives. The proposal would allow the regulation to expire and revert to the North Central Zone northern pike regulation. 
  • Crappie and sunfish in Clearwater and Maple lakes (Wright County) – In an effort to maintain and hopefully increase size quality of both crappie and sunfish, the proposal would reduce the daily limits in both lakes, which have heavy fishing pressure.
  • Sunfish in First, Second, Third and Fourth Crow Wing lakes (Hubbard County) – To reduce angler confusion and facilitate easier enforcement, the proposal would combine all four Crow Wing lakes and the connected Crow Wing River into one regulated waterbody with a daily limit of five sunfish.
  • Sunfish in Winnibigoshish Lake and connected waters (Beltrami, Cass, Itasca counties) –To facilitate easier enforcement, the proposal would include Lake Winnibigoshish in the reduced daily limit for sunfish that is already in effect for connected Cut Foot Sioux and Little Cut Foot Sioux lakes. 
  • Northern pike in Balsam, Haskell and Scrapper Lakes (Itasca County) – This proposal would apply one of two slot limits for northern pike to all three connected lakes. Currently, Balsam Lake has a protected slot limit, but the two connected waters do not.
  • Walleye in Big Sand Lake (Hubbard County) – The walleye population in Big Sand Lake has not responded to various special regulations, including the current slot limit. This proposal would repeal the special regulation and apply the statewide regulation, which is not expected to impact the existing walleye fishery.

Anyone can provide input about these proposals via an online survey that is available through Friday, Oct. 20. For additional details or to comment directly by email, U.S. mail or phone about individual proposals, contact the area fisheries office for the proposal(s) on which you wish to comment. General input may also be submitted to Jon Hansen at [email protected] or 651-259-5239, or via U.S. mail to Fishing Regulations/Jon Hansen, Box 20, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.

The Minnesota DNR is also hosting in-person open houses in each county where the proposed changes would apply and one in the Twin Cities metro area to cover all proposals.

Notification of the proposed changes to special fishing regulations has been posted at the accesses to each lake included in the proposal.


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